Gravitational-wave astronomy with a physical calibration model

Ethan Payne, Colm Talbot, Paul D. Lasky, Eric Thrane, Jeffrey S. Kissel

Research output: Other contributionResearch


We carry out astrophysical inference for compact binary merger events in LIGO-Virgo's first gravitational-wave transient catalog (GWTC-1) using a physically motivated calibration model. We demonstrate that importance sampling can be used to reduce the cost of what would otherwise be a computationally challenging analysis. We show that including the physical estimate for the calibration error distribution has negligible impact on the inference of parameters for the events in GWTC-1. Studying a simulated signal with matched filter signal-to-noise ratio SNR=200, we project that a calibration error estimate typical of GWTC-1 is likely to be negligible for the current generation of gravitational-wave detectors. We argue that other sources of systematic error---from waveforms, prior distributions, and noise modelling---are likely to be more important. Finally, using the events in GWTC-1 as standard sirens, we infer an astrophysically-informed improvement on the estimate of the calibration error in the LIGO interferometers.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020


  • Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
  • Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
  • General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology

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